(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. remains committed to “ongoing negotiations” for the release of hostages believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza as officials work to find nine Americans still missing in the wake of the extremist group’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, the White House’s national security adviser said on Sunday.
“There are ongoing negotiations involving the Israelis, the Qataris, and we, the United States, are actively engaged in this as well because we want to make sure that we bring home those Americans who have been taken hostage as well as all of the other hostages,” Jake Sullivan told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
Pressed by Karl on the total number of hostages, Sullivan said America doesn’t have a “precise number.”
“We know the number of missing and that’s the number the Israelis have given. But we don’t know how many of those are still alive,” Sullivan said. “As far as the Americans are concerned, there are nine missing American citizens as well as a missing legal permanent representative, a green card holder.”
Sullivan continued: “That’s the number that we are trying to ensure the safe return of, and we have been engaging with the families. In fact, I will personally be seeing family members of the American hostages this coming week.”
Karl also asked Sullivan if the U.S. believes Hamas’ claim that a number of hostages were killed in Israeli retaliatory strikes in Gaza.
“Well, first, we don’t take anything Hamas says at face value, but we have no information that can either corroborate or counteract that,” Sullivan replied. “So as I said before, we simply don’t know how many of the hostages are still alive, how many have been mistreated, how many Hamas itself has killed.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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